Top Tips - What to do in New York

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One of the perks of our Summer Camp USA and Work America programmes is that you get 30 days to travel the USA after your contract ends. For those who will find themselves in New York City as the summer draws to a close, the itinerary does not need to end! New York is widely known as one of the most culturally rich, visually brilliant and vastly unique cities the world has to offer. Home to King Kong, the Knicks, and more pretzels than you can shake a stick at, New York offers endless options for those looking to explore.

Here in our London HQ, the BUNAC team have whipped up a treat for those interested in taking a little bite out of the Big Apple. Below is a list of our top tips and recommendations; use them, share them, compare them, and enjoy!

Getting into the city vibe

To give yourself a refresher course on New York navigation, take a look at google maps before you start exploring to understand how the street numbers increase north in Manhattan, and how the avenues run from east to west. That way you’ll be able to always know if you are walking in the right direction.

As a general rule, don’t necessarily try and see everything in just a few days; you could be there for weeks and not get to see everything, so plan accordingly! Pick 1 or 2 key sights to see each day and plan smaller stops on your journey between them. The subway is cheap, but you can’t beat travelling by cab or by walking if you have the time/stamina!

Rest stops, bagels, and beverages

NYC is all about the food! With historical roots in Italian, Indian, Ethiopian, Japanese, and (of course) American cuisine to name but a few, some of our most delicious experiences in the New York consisted of:
  • BAGELS. The aforementioned circular snack that was born and raised in the streets of NYC. Authentic NY bagels are found at Bagel Boy chains and La Bagel Delight in Brooklyn’s Park Slope neighbourhood.
  • Visiting little Italy for some authentic Italian food. Pizza, pasta, linguine, each more delicious than the last.
  • Checking in to ‘Black Tap’ restaurant. They have shakes that’ll make you quake, they’ve got the fries that’ll cross your eyes, they’ve got the burgers that’ll... well, they're seriously good!
  • Sitting on the red steps in Times Square taking in the atmosphere while indulging yourself with a classic New York cheesecake from Junior’s.
  • Ellen’s Stardust Diner – A restaurant with popular musical themed additions! Because burgers need a soundtrack too.
  • If you’re by Grand Central Station, stop off at Bistro Marketplace for a buffet style breakfast of everything you can imagine; it's much cheaper than the food in the grand central food court.

The classic New Yorker

Once food and drink has energised the mind, body and soul, it's best to set off and explore the sights. A few of our most enjoyable pastimes included:
  • The Staten Island Ferry. It’s FREE and gives you the best view of the Statue of Liberty as well as giving you a chance to explore Staten Island.
  • Mastering the NYC Subway map and exploring the depths of the city.
  • Biking around the city! Roam Central Park or cross the Brooklyn Bridge
  • Check out a Broadway musical
  • Visit the 9/11 Museum and the Rockefeller Centre for a true New York experience
  • Check out the HUGE variety of free museums

The city that never sleeps

It may be the city that never sleeps, but you certainly do need somewhere to lay your head for a few hours! Whether you want to stay among all the lights of Times Square, on the Upper East side like the guys from Gossip Girl, or you’re looking for something a little cheaper, New York has something for everyone. Check out the HI NYC Hostel, Pod Hotels and also Airbnb’s – all favourites with past applicants.
As always, this is just a snippet of the much more expansive and activity filled world that is New York City. Asking anybody for their top tips for success will result in wildly different answers! Talking to the locals will always provide you with a hidden insight into the authentic New York experience you’ll be telling your friends about for months. Don't forget to share your tips with us on social media using #BUNAC.
Find out more about our Summer Camp USA and Work America programmes. You can also call us on 0333 999 7516 or email enquiries@bunac.org.uk if you have any questions.

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